Achieving full benefit of social technologies through a culture of trust

“To achieve the full benefit of social technologies, organizations must transform their structures, processes, and cultures: they will need to become more open and non-hierarchical and to create a culture of trust. Creating a culture of trust is even difficult for organizations that have not implemented social technologies as well. Ultimately, the efficacy of social technologies hinges on the full participation of employees who are openly willing to share their thoughts and trust that their contributions will be respected. Creating these conditions will be far more challenging than implementing the social media technologies themselves.”

The most important element from the above premise statement is that creating a culture of trust is difficult and that social technology will fail or succeed based on trust of their contributions.  If there is no culture of trust, there will be no contributions to a social technology. Even if the tool is perfect, if no one uses the tool, it was just either a waste of money, waste of time, waste of messaging, or all of the above.

It is true that a culture of trust is more important in a highly collaborative environment powered by social technologies (Burg, 2013).  It is needed because this could be an avenue where ideas can be fully expressed to improve certain parts of the company, product, or service in a constructive and respectful discussed (Burg, 2013; Li, 2010; Vellmure, n.d.; Wollan, Smith, &Zhou, 2010).

However, establishing a culture is much hard than introducing a new piece of technology. There will always be naysayers and resistors to a new piece of social technology (Li, 2010; Wollan et al., 2010).  Even though people who are willing to share their thoughts and ideas are hoping that they can do so in a trusted environment, that their shared ideas are respected, and still have a job the next day.

The leadership style that is more conducive to creating an open culture based on mutually shared respect and trust would be either an open or democratic leadership style. Both the open and democratic leadership are heavy on team participation and are customer and employee centered (Cherry, 2016; Li, 2010).  Cherry (2016), describes that in democratic leadership styles the final decision comes down to the leader, whereas Li (2010) describes that the open leadership styles give more autonomy to the team.  Thus, both are more conducive to creating an open culture, but it depends on the current company culture and the willingness of leadership to give their employees full autonomy over social technology that defines which of these two cultures will prevail in the end.

References

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